In the final installment of our draft preview series, we take a look at some of the top goalie prospects in the 2022 draft. While the Sens will probably not place a high priority on picking a goalie in the higher rounds, they very well could still have a goalie pick in the plan; especially considering the team’s future at the position is far from settled.
The Senators opted to not use any of their 2021 picks on a goalie seeing as they had picked Finland’s Leevi Merilainen in 2020 and Mads Sogaard from Denmark in 2019. Since this year’s draft class doesn’t forecast to have a goalie chosen in the first round, the Senators could potentially nab one of the top ‘tenders in the second or third round.
The class for goalies this year is not expected to be remarkable; none of the projected top goalies are expected to be elite or at least not in the short term.
Let’s take a look at the top-4 rated goalies going into the 2022 NHL draft.
|Name||Position||Team||League||Height||Weight||Date of Birth|
|Tyler Brennan||G||Prince George||WHL||6''4"||185 lbs||09/27/2003|
|Topias Leinonen||G||JYP Jr.||FIN-JR||6''5"||233 lbs||01/25/2004|
|Hugo Havelid||G||Linkoping Jr.||SWE-JR||5'10"||170 lbs||01/01/2004|
|Ivan Zhigalov||G||Sherbrooke||QMJHL||6'3"||161 lbs||04/30/2003|
- Tyler Brennan, Prince George (WHL): the highest-ranked North American goalie, the 18-year-old played 39 games finishing with an SV% of 0.899. He did however post an impressive 4 shutouts. With goalies being generally bigger, Brennan falls into the norm in terms of size at a listed height of 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, but it’s his composure under pressure that seems to have caught the attention of scouts. He ended his season with a less than a stellar SV% and a GAA of 3.58 but nonetheless, scouts are very impressed with what they’ve seen from Brennan. His lateral and quick movements are what stand out, being comfortable with those awkward shots that other goalies struggle with when needing to close gaps while pushing post-to-post. On the other hand, he is still a developing goalie with many weaknesses to work on such as handling close-range shots and improving his puck-handling skills. Brennan isn’t a goalie that will be NHL-ready in 1-2 years and could be a long-term project for a team looking long-term for their goalie plan but his athleticism and composure make him a good potential to look out for.
- Topias Leinonen, JYP Jr. (FIN-JR): the first impression of Topias Leinonen is just how big he is at 6-foot-4, 214 pounds. His larger frame means he is able to easily cover most of the net without having to put as much effort into his movements. Combined with his quick hands and controlled reactions, Leinonen might be on many radars— especially if he makes it to the second round. In 21 games with JYP Jr., Leinonen posted a SV% of 0.916 and a GAA of 2.28. He played 4 games in the more advanced team within the Liiga and notched a SV% of 0.825 and a GAA of 5.02. His numbers weren’t stellar in the Liiga but goalies need a stretch of games to be fully assessed and with some more development, it is expected that his numbers will improve. His puck-handling skills have been praised but more importantly, his ability to distinguish when to simplify the play and when to take a risk with his passes. He needs some improvement on his rebound control as well as his lower body stability in the net but overall, the consensus on Leinonen is that he is smart, confident, and has the potential to showcase some exemplary skills on the bigger stage. While Brennan is slightly ranked ahead of him, there has been some debate on who the better prospect is.
- Hugo Havelid, Linkoping Jr. (SWE-JR): unlike Leinonen, Hugo Havelid does not have size as an advantage. He does seem to have good hockey genes on his side as his father, Niclas Havelid played over 600 games for the Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, and New Jersey Devils, and his twin brother Mathias Havelid is expected to be picked in the first round. In 28 games plated with Linkoping Jr., Havelid posted a SV% of .920 and an impressive GAA of 1.82. He also had 5 shutouts in that stretch. He stood out in the World Under-18s after making 47 saves in a win against Team USA and evidently caught the attention of many scouts in the process moving him from 9th to 2nd on the international goalie’s list. While Brennan and Leinonen are goalies who rely on their size to cover as much net area and close the gaps, Havelid is a butterfly-style goalie who is best known for his patience when facing a shot, making it harder for shooters to pick their spots. He’s also praised for his good vision of the puck and quick reactions and his continuous work on improving his deficiencies. The biggest concern with Havelid is his overall positioning but as noted by many scouts, there has been tremendous improvement documented in his journey so far.
- Ivan Zhigalov, Sherbrooke (QMJHL): another butterfly goalie, Zhigalov has tremendous experience at many different levels. He has played for Dynamo Moscow, Belarus’s Under-18 team, and finished his season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the QMJHL. In 42 games with Sherbrooke, he posted an SV% of 0.892 and a GAA of 2.84. At 19 years old, Zhigalov is hoping he doesn’t go undrafted for a second draft. He was invited to the Montreal Canadiens rookie camp but COVID-19 made it difficult for him to attend at the time. The extra year seems to have impressed scouts as he is being praised for his quick movements and consistent ability to make show-stopping saves. As with the theme for goalies this year, he is also touted for his calmness and his hard work. His vision and space awareness set him apart from the other prospects and he seems to be on a pro level when it comes to his in-game engagement. Some areas of improvement for Zhigalov are his rebound control and lower body positioning. While Zhigalov does show a lot of promise, he is longer-term project with concerns about his lower body positioning and overall return to form is a high concern./